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message 1: by Pavan (new)

Pavan Kaur (pavankaur) | 89 comments I have been looking around the last few days on marketing my book. This is my first book and getting it out into the big world is going to be harder and I am ready for that :)

I was reading g an article that said to make your book free for a day or weekend and that with bring you into the free chart and help get it noticed, then they most the price up to 2.99 and that really helped them sell over 500 book in the first week once the price went up.

What do you think about these free book promotions?

xxx


message 2: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi Pavan. A word of caution about scheduling free days. Free book promos can drive traffic to your other books, but if you only have one book, I would caution against a free promo at the moment.

One thing to take into consideration is that to make an impact, you would need to give away a lot more than 500 books in a day to get into the top 100 free overall, which is the only way you are going to see residual sales. This is not likely. An average free promo used to be anywhere from 250-500 books in a single day, but in today's market, the giveaways are typically between 10-100 in a day.

You can advertise. There are some places that will list your promo for free, but they usually don't have much traffic. Places that will make an impact will have a fee and even then, you will have to take a gamble because without a follow up book, there is no guarantee that you will see residual sales.

If your book is currently in Select, consider a Countdown sale. There are places where you can advertise these as well, and you have a better chance at recouping any fees you might pay.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy Morelli | 1 comments I can say this, I have downloaded a few free books that were parts of a series, and once I got hooked I bought the other books so I could read them all!


message 4: by Owen (last edited May 08, 2015 10:17AM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments We have given away free books in the thousands, but have seen only one review from them (ID'd as such) -- it was negative, but fun. So people who download free books seem not to review (I've heard this from others), but this may depend on genre.

More importantly, they also seem to be a different crowd from those buying books. In one case, we did see a small boost in sales from a free promo, but that was case only.

Most importantly (IMHO) as Christina said, and Amy notes, it's much better if you have multiple books or a developed series. A free promo doesn't do much if you only have one book to sell. It really doesn't bring that much visibility to buying customers, and the people who got for free that might be inclined buy another book often will have forgotten by the time you have another book out there.


message 5: by Peter (new)

Peter (74765525) | 19 comments I've downloaded a dozen or so free books in the past year and I've read ZERO, NONE, ZIPPO. Why? Because I've got a stack of books I paid for that come first. Chances that I'll ever read a free download? If it's written by a close relative 50%. Written by anyone else 1%. And I'm not the only one who fits this pattern.


message 6: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 138 comments I love me freebies but the ones I'm quick to read are likely the first in a series with other books already out. I like being able to see if I enjoy an author and know I can continue reading if I do but - honestly - .99 isn't demanding much.


message 7: by L.J. (new)

L.J. Kendall (luke_kendall) My guess is that Amazon's alternative promotion system, where the price is knocked down to $0.99 for a short period rather than made free, was a response to drawbacks in the free book approach.

I think we tend to value something, by default, with the price we paid for it. So something that cost us nothing is easy to ignore. I plan to choose the reduced-price alternative when I self-publish.


message 8: by Owen (last edited May 10, 2015 02:50AM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Peter wrote: "I've downloaded a dozen or so free books in the past year and I've read ZERO, NONE, ZIPPO. Why? Because I've got a stack of books I paid for that come first. Chances that I'll ever read a free down..."

Luke wrote: think we tend to value something, by default, with the price we paid for it. So something that cost us nothing is easy to ignore..."

Thanks, Peter & Luke. I've gotten that impression -- after all, why not download a free book on the off chance you'll feel like reading it later? You invested a click, that's all.

I'm with Courtney (and others) in regards to series (especially) but authors' work in general. If a book catches my eye (yes, I'm kinda cheap), I'll often see if they have work out there for free or $0.99 to get a better idea if I like their work. If I do, I'll buy the book that caught my attention. In this case, the difference between free and $0.99 doesn't make any real difference to me.

At some point, offering something for free starts to carrying more weight, as the perceived value increases. As a silly example, a signed 1st-edition hardcover by GRRM is (I suspect) worth a lot. One by me is worth very little. So here again, "free" being a valuable marketing tactic is more a sign of success than its cause.


message 9: by Hayden (last edited May 10, 2015 02:48AM) (new)

Hayden Linder (haydendlinder) | 85 comments DANG IT! This was NOT what I wanted to hear. BUT better to hear it now than later.

So if I have only one book out and it will be a while before my second is ready for publishing, would you say my best use of KDP Select free days is a countdown just before the select option ends?


message 10: by Anthony Deeney (last edited May 10, 2015 03:31AM) (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Well, I would like to counter some of the opinions expressed above.

The kindle countdown deals comes with various restrictions.

1. One time only per three months. No splitting.
2. Price Locked before and after the deal.
3. UK and US only. (Interestingly min price in the UK is 99P which is quite a bit more than 99c in the US.)

I have only one book, at present, and in this 3 month block I ran a kindle countdown deal. I didn't advertise it and it was disappointing.

I will go back to free days in the next period. You can split these into five single days, across three months. The best "sales" I have had (with pixelscroll advertising) was 625 free books with a couple of free days together. I then seem to enjoy sales that follow up from the free books. I have had amazon reviews following free book days, but it is impossible to say whether these are free book or paid book readers.

I think once I get my other books out, I will have even more reason to go for free books.

The downside:

I think that only about 1 in 4 free books are actually read and if your book doesn't have a quick grab, it may be even less.

People will download a free book that looks interesting to 'read later' and then never read it. I have several such books myself.

Free books don't count as sales in the paid rankings, so you can give away 10000 free books and fall down the rankings, but if your book is good and say 2500 people read your book and talk about it...?


message 11: by Anthony Deeney (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Follow up:

I have had amazon reviews following free book days, but it is impossible to say whether these are free book or paid book readers.

Actually, I can state that my one and only Canadian review (5*) followed after a small batch of free book day Canadian 'sales.'


message 12: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Just to plunk down some real numbers (and these few numbers don't mean much, but you gotta start somewhere), my co-author has run 3 free days so far this quarter for her fantasy novel. The first two were a week apart, and the 3rd was two weeks later. No advertising was done except a couple of posts on GR and a post on our blog. The results were:

1st day: 91
2nd day: 254
3rd day: 8

Reviews: 1 (1-star, and quite funny!)
Sales: we did see a slight increase in sales and KU loans after the first two days, but it was in the single digits, and lasted less than a week.

As always: YMMV. But you can expect a lot of variability.

As a side note: we see no crossover at all between her fantasy novel and our sci-fi series.


message 13: by Anthony Deeney (last edited May 10, 2015 01:51PM) (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Owen wrote: "Just to plunk down some real numbers (and these few numbers don't mean much, but you gotta start somewhere), my co-author has run 3 free days so far this quarter for her fantasy novel. The first tw..."

Oops, I did not mean to give the impression that the sales rise that follows the give away is of the same order of magnitude. It is a small rise, and it is about a week, like Owen says.

Also I do not doubt the numbers in the article referred to in Message 1. It is possible this was true when free book giveaways were first launched. Then they counted as actual sales and would push your book up the real charts. Now they have a free book chart.

Also in the first few days of free book give away there may not have been as many free books so less competition.

I read an article for a guy claming that, with paid advertising, he gave away 110000 books. This then propelled his book into the best sellers charts and his book just kept selling.

His book was one of the very first ebooks given away. You would be lucky to achieve something like that for Bookbub now.

One thing that free kindle book giveaways sell is Kindles! They should reward authors for this!

I read that Goodreads giveaways were a great way to promote your book.

It was an expensive waste of money for me. I bought ten books and paid international postage. Netted me my worst reviews.

I found some of the books listed on ebay, "unopened."

The market is changing so quickly that, what is true today may not be so tomorrow.


message 14: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I'll add a few numbers of my own here.

Back in November of 2013, I ran a one day free promo. At that time, I'd been published just one year and I'd seen my free days drop from an average of 400 to less than 100. But on that day, I moved 2800+ books. As it happened, a very popular scifi site decided to randomly feature my promo in their newsletter that day. I hit #1 in both the scifi and fantasy categories, only hitting #5 in romance, and reached at least as high as #71 overall. The next day I sold more books than ever before, but I also had my highest return rate at about 30%. In the end, 2800 free downloads at the beginning of the month netted me roughly 100 sales before tapering off. This was with a total of three books published. After that, sales fell back into their trickle. The next free day I offered was back to normal.

Fast forward to the end of October of last year, nearly one year to the day from my huge sale, I ran another free promo that took off. This time was not as great, only 900 books were given away and I didn't break the top 100 overall, but I managed #1 in all of my subgenres and top ten in both scifi/fantasy and romance. At this point I now had a total of six books available. This time, there was no wave of sales to follow. I might have seen a slight bump for the month, but most of this was due to the fact that I had a massive sale at the end of the month.

The main difference here is that the second time, I didn't break the top 100. Despite having two separate rankings, breaking the top 100 in free will get you more visibility. Top 10 is where you will see the 'real' sales come in. I'm guessing that in today's market, that's going to require a 5000+ day. I don't know if even Bookbub can guarantee that these days, so gamble with caution.


message 15: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Christina wrote: "I'll add a few numbers of my own here.

Back in November of 2013, I ran a one day free promo. At that time, I'd been published just one year and I'd seen my free days drop from an average of 400 to..."


For what it's worth (another data point on how things have changed), we had a similar experience in June 2013, when we had a free promo our first book. It peaked at #432 on the overall free list and went to #1 in mil-sci-fi, netted one sale that we know of, no reviews that we know of, and dropped our book in the paid rankings. Being ignorant, we scheduled our free day when the book was actually selling, which is a mistake you never want to make.

That promo was also picked up by some site (a reader mentioned that's how he how us), which drove the downloads. No free promo in that last year has resulted in anything close to that level of activity for us. That said, about 6-8 weeks after we release our 4th book, we might try making the first book free (if we can find a decent site to list it on), just to see what happens.


message 16: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Owen wrote: "...and dropped our book in the paid rankings. Being ignorant, we scheduled our free day when the book was actually selling, which is a mistake you never want to make."

Absolutely true advice. But you did remind me that there is an advantage now with KU. Some folks will add a book to their KU queue even if it's on a free promo. A couple of timesnow I've actually seen my paid ranking go up from borrows while the book is free. It doesn't always happen, but it is possible now.


message 17: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Christina wrote: "But you did remind me that there is an advantage now with KU. Some folks will add a book to their KU queue even if it's on a free promo..."

We also saw a few people borrowing her book through KU when it was free, but the implications hadn't occurred to me. If you're in KU, the book is essentially free either way, so if someone sees it on a free list, they might borrow it, and then you get paid. So many factors, and by the time we release our next book, they will likely have changed.


message 18: by Anthony Deeney (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Christina wrote: "Owen wrote: "...and dropped our book in the paid rankings. Being ignorant, we scheduled our free day when the book was actually selling, which is a mistake you never want to make."

Absolutely true..."

Yes, I wonder at that. The book is free to keep. Are they just being charitable?


message 19: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I think they just don't care to keep the books or they aren't paying attention to price. Either way, I'm certainly not going to complain. ;)


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